work1 W1S1 [wə:k US wə:rk] v
1¦(do a job for money)¦
2¦(do your job)¦
4¦(do an activity)¦
5¦(try to achieve something)¦
7¦(be effective/successful)¦
8¦(have an effect)¦
10¦(shape/cut something)¦
11¦(use a substance)¦
12 work your way to/through etc something
13 work your way through school/college/university etc
14¦(move gradually)¦
17¦(work in an area)¦
18 work the door
19¦(entertain a crowd)¦
22 work like magic/work like a charm
24 work on the principle/assumption/basis etc that
25 work yourself into a frenzy/panic/state etc
26 work it/things
27 work the system
28 work somebody hard
29 work your fingers to the bone
30 work your butt/ass/arse off
32 work to rule
Phrasal verbs
 work around somebody/something
 work around to something
 work at something
 work somebody/something in
 work something<=>off
 work on somebody/something
 work out
 work somebody over
 work through
 work up
 work up to something
[: Old English; Origin: wyrcan]
to do a job that you are paid for
Where do you work?
Many young people in the area have never worked.
The injury means he'll probably never work again.
work for
He works for a law firm.
work at/in
I work at the university.
work as
She works as a consultant for a design company.
work in industry/education/publishing etc
The studies were undertaken by people working in education.
work part-time/full-time
I work part-time in a library.
2.) ¦(DO YOUR JOB)¦ [I and T]
to do the activities and duties that are part of your job
Sally isn't working tomorrow.
Staff will have to get used to a new way of working.
work with
One of the women I work with is getting married this weekend.
work under sb
(=have someone who is in charge of you)
Each site has a fully trained team who work under a site manager.
work days/nights/weekends etc
I get paid more if I work nights.
We're sometimes expected to work twelve-hour days.
Are you working late (=working after the time you usually finish) again tonight?
Forty police officers are working round the clock (=working day and night without stopping) to find Murray's killer.
Nowadays, many people are able to work from home .
3.) ¦(HELP)¦ [I]
if you work with someone or a group of people, your job involves trying to help them
work with/among
She's just retired after 38 years working with children.
He has worked among some of the world's poorest people.
4.) ¦(DO AN ACTIVITY)¦ [I]
to spend time and effort doing something
I've been working in the garden all afternoon.
I'm going to have to work really hard to pass these exams.
We're working together to develop a new system.
to try continuously to achieve a particular thing
work towards
They are working towards a solution to their problems.
work for
We will work for the release of the hostages.
work to do sth
The police are working to provide more help for victims of crime.
The company is working hard to improve its image.
He worked tirelessly (=worked very hard in a determined way) for the charity throughout his life.
a) [I]
if a machine or piece of equipment works, it does what it is supposed to do
You should check that the smoke alarm is working properly.
The delete key doesn't work.
get sth to work
I can't get the heater to work.
b) [T]
to make a machine or piece of equipment do what it is supposed to do
My parents can't even work the video.
to be effective or successful
Making a marriage work can take a lot of effort.
I've never found a diet that works.
The recipe works just as well if you use margarine instead of butter.
The cream works immediately to relieve sore skin.
work for
You need to find which method works best for you.
work against
a drug that works against some types of cancer
8.) ¦(HAVE AN EFFECT)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
if something such as a fact, situation, or system works in a particular way, it has a particular effect on someone or something
The arrangement works well for everyone involved.
The French team are the heavier crew, which should work in their favour (=help them) .
Sexism still works against (=harms or causes problems for) women in many professions.
if a painting, design, piece of writing etc works, it is successful because it has the effect on you that the painter, writer etc intended
I don't think the scene with the horses really works, do you?
work for
The colour combination just doesn't work for me.
if you work a material such as metal, leather, or clay, you cut, sew, or shape it in order to make something
11.) ¦(USE A SUBSTANCE)¦ [I]
to use a particular material or substance in order to make something such as a picture, design, jewellery etc
work in/with
a sculptor who works in steel
a jeweller who works with silver
12.) work your way to/through etc sth
a) to move somewhere slowly and with difficulty
From here, we worked our way carefully across the rock base.
b) to achieve something gradually by working
He had worked his way up to head of department.
13.) work your way through school/college/university etc
to do a job while you are a student because you need the money to pay for your courses, books etc
14.) ¦(MOVE GRADUALLY)¦ [I,T always + adverb/preposition]
to move into a particular state or position very gradually, either in a series of small movements or after a long time
Slowly he worked the screwdriver into the crack.
work (its way) loose
One of the screws must have worked loose.
15.) ¦(EXERCISE)¦ [T]
to use and exercise a muscle or part of your body
Swimming is a form of exercise that works every muscle in your body.
16.) ¦(MOVE)¦ [I and T] [i]formal
if a part of your body works or you work it, it moves
She was trembling and her mouth was working.
17.) ¦(WORK IN AN AREA)¦ [T]
if you work a particular area or type of place, you travel around the area for your job, or work in that type of place
Markowitz works the Tri-State area.
18.) work the door
to take tickets from people as they enter a club, theatre etc
Binns worked the door at various Manhattan clubs.
if an entertainer or politician works a crowd of people, they entertain them and get their interest or support
She really knew how to work a crowd.
20.)¦(LAND/SOIL)¦ [T]
if you work the land, soil etc, you do all the work necessary to grow crops on it
He was left to work the farm alone.
21.) ¦(MINE)¦ [T]
to remove a substance such as coal, gold, or oil from under the ground
22.) work like magic/work like a charm also work a treat BrE
to be very effective
a polish that works a treat on windows
23.) ¦(MIND/BRAIN)¦
if your mind or brain is working, you are thinking or trying to solve a problem
24.) work on the principle/assumption/basis etc that
to base ideas, plans etc on a particular fact that you think is true
We're working on the assumption that the conference will take place in Canada, as planned.
25.) work yourself into a frenzy/panic/state etc
to make yourself become very nervous, angry etc
He seemed to be working himself into a rage.
26.) work it/things
[i]spoken to make arrangements for something to happen, especially by behaving in a clever or skilful way
We should try and work it so that we can all go together.
27.) work the system
to understand how a system works so that you can get advantages for yourself, often in a slightly dishonest way
Lynn could show the rest of us how to work the system.
28.) work sb hard also work sb into the ground informal
to make someone work very hard
The coach has been working us really hard this week.
People have complained that they are being worked into the ground.
work yourself into the ground
I've worked myself into the ground setting up this interview.
29.) work your fingers to the bone also work your socks off
informal to work very hard
30.) work your butt/ass/arse off
not polite to work very hard
31.) ¦(CALCULATE)¦ [T]
AmE formal to calculate the answer to a mathematical problem
32.) work to rule
BrE to protest about a situation at work by doing your job slowly, with the excuse that you must obey all the rules exactly
work wonders atwonder2 (4), work miracles atmiracle, work your magic atmagic1 (5)
work around / [work around sb/sth] phr v
to arrange or organize something so that you avoid problems that may stop you from doing something
John won't be here on the 15th so we'll have to work round that.
work around to [work around to sth] phr v
to gradually mention a subject in a conversation or piece of writing, especially because it is embarrassing
You'll have to work round to the subject gradually.
work at [work at sth] phr v
to try hard to improve something or achieve something
Learning a language isn't easy. You have to work at it.
work at doing sth
couples who want to work at improving their relationship
work in [work sb/sth in] phr v
1.) work sth<=>in also work sth into sth
to include something in a speech, piece of writing, activity etc
He managed to work in a few references to his new book.
Here are a few goodies you can work into your daily diet.
2.) work sth<=>in also work sth into sth
to add one substance to another and mix them together in a very thorough way
Work the butter into the flour.
3.) AmE spoken to arrange to meet someone, even though you are very busy
British Equivalent: fit somebody in
My schedule's pretty full, but I think I can work you in.
work off [work sth<=>off] phr v
1.) to get rid of something, especially a feeling such as anger, nervousness etc, by doing something that uses a lot of your energy
Walking is excellent for working off tension.
I need to go and work off a few of these calories.
2.) to do a job for someone else because you owe them money or because they have helped you in the past
She hasn't worked off her debts to me yet.
work on / [work on sb/sth] phr v
1.) to spend time working in order to produce or repair something
He has spent the last two years working on a book about childcare.
Every weekend you see him working on his car.
2.) to try very hard to improve or achieve something
A trainer has been brought in to work on her fitness.
work on doing sth
We need to work on ensuring that the children feel safe and confident.
3.) to try continuously to influence someone or persuade them to do something
You leave him to me. I'll work on him.
work out phr v
1.) ¦(PLAN)¦
work sth<=>out
to think carefully about how you are going to do something and plan a good way of doing it
UN negotiators have worked out a set of compromise proposals.
work out what/where/how etc
We need to work out how we're going to get there.
I had it all worked out (=had made very careful plans) .
work sth<=>out
to calculate an answer, amount, price etc
See if you can work this bill out.
work out how much/how many etc
We'll have to work out how much food we'll need for the party.
work sth<=>out
especially BrE to think about something and manage to understand it
The plot is very complicated - it'll take you a while to work it out.
work sth out for yourself
I'm sure you can work it out for yourself.
4.) ¦(COST)¦
if a cost or amount works out at a particular figure, it is found to be that much when you calculate it
work out at/to £10/$500 etc
The bill works out at £15 each.
work out expensive/cheap etc
(=be expensive or cheap)
If we go by taxi, it's going to work out very expensive.
5.) ¦(GET BETTER)¦
if a problem or complicated situation works out, it gradually gets better or gets solved
Things will work out, you'll see.
I hope it all works out for Gina and Andy.
work itself out
I'm sure everything will work itself out.
6.) ¦(HAPPEN)¦
if a situation works out in a particular way, it happens in that way
= ↑turn out
work out well/badly
Financially, things have worked out well for us.
7.) ¦(EXERCISE)¦
to make your body fit and strong by doing exercises
He works out with weights twice a week.
8.) I can't work sb out
BrE spoken used to say that you cannot understand what someone is really like or why they behave in the way they do
I couldn't work her out at all.
9.) be worked out
if a mine is worked out, all the coal, gold etc has been removed from it
work over [work sb over] phr v
to attack someone by hitting them several times
work through phr v
1.) work sth<=>through
to deal with problems or unpleasant feelings
After someone dies, it can take a long time to work though your grief.
2.) if the result or effect of something works through, it becomes noticeable
The positive effect on businesses may take up to three years to work through.
work up [work up] phr v
1.) work up enthusiasm/interest/courage etc
to make yourself feel interested, brave etc
I'm trying to work up enough courage to go to the dentist.
2.) work up an appetite/a thirst/a sweat
to make yourself hungry or ↑thirsty, or make yourself ↑sweat, especially by doing physical exercise
You can work up a really big thirst playing tennis.
3.) work sb up
to make someone very angry, excited, or upset about something
work yourself up
You're working yourself up again.
She had worked herself up into a state .
→↑worked up
4.) work sth<=>up
to develop and improve something such as a project or a piece of writing
Jack took notes which he would work up into a report later.
work up to [work up to sth] phr v
to gradually prepare yourself to do something difficult
work up to doing sth
He'd been working up to asking her for a date all week.
work 2
work2 W1S1 n
5¦(papers etc)¦
9 at work
10 the (whole) works
11 nice work/quick work
12 something is in the works/pipeline
13 works
14 the works
15 have your work cut out (for you)
16 make short/light work of something
17 make heavy/hard work of something
[: Old English; Origin: werc, weorc]
1.) ¦(JOB)¦[U]
a job or activity that you do regularly, especially in order to earn money
There isn't a lot of work at this time of the year.
My father started work when he was just 14.
He's been out of work (=without a job) for two years.
More people are in work (=have a job) than ten years ago.
There has been an increase in the number of people looking for work .
She found work with an engineering firm.
I'm planning to return to work (=start a job again after a long period of time) when the children are a little older.
before/after work
(=before a day of work or at the end of a day of work)
Do you want to go for a drink after work?
part-time/full-time work
The new law will benefit people in part-time work.
I need to find paid work (=a job you are paid to do) .
voluntary work
BrE /volunteer work
AmE (=a job you are not paid for)
He does voluntary work in a hospital.
In my line of work (=the type of work someone does) , I meet lots of interesting people.
see usage notejob
2.) ¦(PLACE)¦[U]
a place where you do your job, which is not your home
I had an accident on the way to work.
He left work at the usual time.
I went out with the girls from work last night.
at work
Dad's at work right now.
3.) ¦(DUTIES)¦[U]
the duties and activities that are part of your job
A large part of the work we do involves using computers.
He starts work at 4am.
secretarial/legal/clerical etc work
He's started a business doing gardening and roofing work.
4.) ¦(RESULT)¦[U]
something that you produce as a result of doing your job or doing an activity
Send a résumé and examples of your work.
The building is the work of architect Rafael Moneo.
The teacher should make sure that each child has a piece of work displayed on the wall.
The standard of work has declined.
5.) ¦(PAPERS ETC)¦[U]
the papers and other materials you need for doing work
Can you move some of your work off the kitchen table?
I often have to take work home with me.
something such as a painting, play, piece of music etc that is produced by a painter, writer, or musician
the Collected Works of Shakespeare
It is another accomplished work by the artist.
7.) ¦(ACTIVITY)¦[U]
when you use physical or mental effort in order to achieve something
work on
Work will start next month on a new swimming pool in the centre of the city.
Looking after children can be hard work .
carry out/ do work
You should not allow unqualified people to carry out work on your house.
set to work/get down to work
(=start work)
He set to work immediately.
8.) ¦(STUDY)¦[U]
study or ↑research, especially for a particular purpose
carry out/do work
The centre carries out work to monitor trends in housing management.
He did his postgraduate work in Sociology.
9.) at work
a) doing your job or a particular activity
He spent most of his time watching the fishermen at work.
b) having a particular influence or effect
Volcanoes display some of nature's most powerful forces at work.
10.) the (whole) works
spoken used after mentioning several things, to emphasize that someone or something has everything you can think of
The hotel had everything - sauna, swimming pool, the works.
11.) nice work/quick work
spoken used to praise someone for doing something well or quickly
That was quick work!
12.) sth is in the works/pipeline informal
used to say that something is being planned or developed
Upgrades to the existing software are in the works.
13.) works [plural, U]
a) activities involved in building or repairing things such as roads, bridges etc
engineering works/irrigation works/roadworks
the official in charge of the engineering works
b) a building or group of buildings in which goods are produced in large quantities or an industrial process happens
ironworks/gasworks/cement works
The brick works closed last year.
14.) the works
the moving parts of a machine
15.) have your work cut out (for you) informal used to say that it will be very difficult to do something
The team will have their work cut out if they are to win the competition.
16.) make short/light work of sth
to do something very quickly and easily
A microwave oven can make light work of the cooking.
17.) make heavy/hard work of sth
to do something with difficulty
They made hard work of what should have been an easy game.
18.) ¦(FORCE)¦[U]
technical force multiplied by distance
be all in a day's work atday, do sb's dirty work atdirty1 (8), a nasty piece of work atnasty, nice work if you can get it atnice

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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  • work — [wʉrk] n. [ME werk < OE weorc, akin to Ger werk < IE base * werĝ , to do, act > Gr ergon (for * wergon), action, work, organon, tool, instrument] 1. physical or mental effort exerted to do or make something; purposeful activity; labor;… …   English World dictionary

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